“I wanted to release a mask that wasn’t just for protection, but could also be used as a fashion statement"
Japanese tennis star Naomi Osaka has launched a charity face mask amid the Coronavirus pandemic.
Osaka was inspired by her sister Mari and the siblings have decided to join forces on the project.
“I’ve always really loved clothes,” Osaka said to Vogue. “When me and Mari were younger, we used to have really long car rides to tournaments, and to pass the time, she would always draw.”
“I just looked at her drawing and thought, ‘Oh, that looks really fun,’ so I started to copy her, which I guess is what I did in tennis as well. But that’s what started everything,” she said.
Mari added that the idea of launching face masks came from Naomi.
“The idea came from Naomi at the beginning,” she said. “I just kind of helped her with the design. I was seeing everyone in the U.S. wearing the same medical mask, and I remember in Japan even before this whole situation happened, everyone was wearing masks and they were quite fashionable.”
“I wanted to release a mask that wasn’t just for protection, but could also be used as a fashion statement,” added Naomi.
The siblings have partnered with UNICEF Japan and will donate all profits to programs supporting disadvantaged Japanese youths.
Masks are available via Naomi’s official website. Designs are inspired by the siblings’ love of cartoons.
“Why wouldn’t you want a little animal on your thing so people can really understand how cute you truly are inside?” Naomi asks.
Mari added, “I’m not sure why it’s now becoming a political thing to not wear the mask—we should all be wearing them, and so it might as well be fashionable and cute.”
In related news, Osaka was recently labelled a “terrorist” for speaking out about Black Lives Matter.